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Do Pollution Markets Harm Low Income and Minority Communities? Ranking Emissions Distributions Generated by California's RECLAIM Program

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Listed:
  • Erin T. Mansur
  • Glenn Sheriff

Abstract

We compare the spatial distribution of emissions from Southern California’s pollution-trading program with that of a counterfactual command-and-control policy. We develop a normatively significant metric with which to rank the various distributions in a manner consistent with an explicit well-behaved preference structure. Results suggest trading benefited all demographic groups and generated a more equitable overall distribution of emissions even after controlling for its lower aggregate emissions. Upper-income and white demographics had more desirable distributions relative to low-income and some minority groups under the RECLAIM trading program, however, and population shifts over time may have undermined anticipated gains for African Americans.

Suggested Citation

  • Erin T. Mansur & Glenn Sheriff, 2019. "Do Pollution Markets Harm Low Income and Minority Communities? Ranking Emissions Distributions Generated by California's RECLAIM Program," NBER Working Papers 25666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25666
    Note: EEE
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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